1.) Become attentive. Cracks in concrete start off as small cracks and then over time they can become larger. Cracks in concrete does not mean that your concrete was installed poorly, especially if the concrete is five years or older. The cracks in the concrete are not caused by the concrete but from outside forces such as tree roots, erosion, and heaving. Pay attention to the size of the cracks and once the cracks start increasing in size its time to give a concrete repair specialist.
2.)Extend down spouts away from concrete structures. Water seeping under the concrete washes would the soil below that is supporting the structure. Gutters discharge a large amount of water in a short period of time, the pressure can wash out the dirt below concrete in a short amount of time
3.) Seal expansion joints and maintain the sealant. Expansion joints run between two structures or between each panel. Those expansion joints need to be sealed to prevent water from entering under the slabs. There are many products on the market that are easy for homeowners to use. Contracting the joint sealant out is also a way to go if you have a trusted contractor that is experienced at installing sealant.
4.) Do not skip on soil preparation when pouring new concrete. Most contractors will price to demo and pour back new concrete driveways with no intentions of working the soil. Compaction, moisture, and materials should be considered and talked about with contractors before the pour back happens.
•Compaction - When the soil is pressed together creating a greater density. Closing the pour volume. This can be achieved by using a type of machinery that applies weight and pressure to the soil. A common piece of machine is a roller, jumping jack, or plate compactor.
•Moisture - The number of parts of water per parts of dirt. Moisture helps the soil stick together during the compaction process. An easy was to test mixed soils with water is to grab two hand full of the moist soil and press together like you are making a snowball. This softball size clump should stick without water dripping out.
•Materials - A lot of contractors like to use fill sand. However, sand is hard to compact and if water ever gets under the concrete, it washes out easily. A road base mix with equal parts sand, clay, and rock works best (limestone base). This material is not native to the Houston area and is railed in from central parts of the state.